Don't Be Late for Work, Visit the City Traffic Site

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With summer on its way and the roads about to fill up with legions of Volgas carrying Muscovites to their dachas, anyone who drives a car here is sure to spend long, miserable hours stuck in horn-honking traffic.

But the Russian-language Internet has provided a way for Moscow drivers to avoid the jams and other hassles that beset the city's roads — complementing the existing radio services and reliable word-of-mouth data sources on Moscow traffic.

Four companies — Geocenter-Consulting, Demos, Ecologichesky Kompas and Yoursha — have joined to create the Moscow Traffic Guide (www.77.ru), an extremely simple and well-presented online representation of the present traffic situation in the capital.

Updates on traffic are uploaded in real time at intervals of 10 minutes to 20 minutes Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Data is collected by dispatchers located all over the city, who forward their observations to a central data-processing point.

Areas of high traffic congestion are clearly indicated on the site's maps as red arrows. Not surprisingly, when checking the site on a recent morning, the Garden Ring and Tverskaya Ulitsa were heavily marked.

There is a complete database of maps for Moscow and its surrounding areas. Upon entering the site, users are presented with a map of Moscow and its environs. More specific maps are accessible by either clicking a specific area of the map or filling in the text field on the left of the screen with the desired street, district or metro station. The size of the maps on your screen is also flexible, and you can change the zoom or scale parameters with a handy toolbar located on the left of the screen.

The site wags the motto, "If you're going to sit behind the wheel [in Moscow], use our facility to save time and your nerves."

Despite the great idea behind the site, one question still remains: How much time would you really save driving somewhere if you have to spend 10 minutes starting up your computer and checking the Moscow Traffic Guide every time you wanted to find the optimal route to your destination?

http://www.77.ru 77.ru